Morpheus successfully ran through its tether test flight after addressing a flaw in the remote control system. Despite looming bad weather and impending darkness, the test flight went beautifully. I'm calling this a good opening up for Orion on Thursday!
Morpheus dangling from a crane as the sun sets. Image credit: NASA
Morpheus, NASA's prototype landing vehicle, is entering its second testing series. The first test in the sequence is a tether test, with the craft dangling from a crane.
The theme for the day was a will-it-or-won't-it waiting game with the weather. The Morpheus test crew scrambled around getting things ready while doing anti-rain-dances before settling into their first-floor operations center.
Morpheus control room on the first floor of the Shuttle Landing Facility landing strip control tower. Image credit: NASA
Resources are being heavily allocated to prepare for the Orion test launch later in the week, so we didn't get a live stream of the launch. Instead, here's some photographs of everything getting ready to go:
The Morpheus test team pondered if a bit more cowbell in their anti-rain dance would clear the ominous skies... Image credit: NASA
Testing for leaks after filling the fuel tanks with liquid oxygen. Morpheus has a new laser setup since the last testing sequence Image credit: NASA
The anti-rain dances worked, with sun breaking through after the fuel tanks were full. Image credit: NASA
Not at all ominous patches of blue skies. Image credit: NASA
Laser alignment test. Image credit: NASA
A rainbow over the prototype. Image credit: NASA
Morpheus, mounted to a tether and waiting for testing! Image credit: NASA
The pad crew keeps working after dark to clean up after the test flight. Image credit: NASA
Crane operators free Morpheus from its tether as the launch pad fades into darkness. Image credit: NASA
It looks like the test flight was a success, although it'll take a bit longer for the team to do a full analysis before plotting out the next stage of the test sequence.
Do you want your own Morpheus to fly around while making rocket noises? Vote for a special Lego project kit here.
Update: Here's a video of the test!